The group’s purpose is to influence policy makers’ approach to ensure “an open, diverse and secure supply chain” for mobile technologies.
The coalition was set up in early May, by founding members including Telefónica, Vodafone, AT&T, Verizon, NTT and Rakuten Mobile, alongside Cisco, Facebook, Google, VMWare, IBM and others.
Courting US influence
Their stated aim is “to promote policies that will advance the adoption of open and interoperable solutions in the Radio Access Network (RAN) as a means to create innovation, spur competition and expand the supply chain for advanced wireless technologies including 5G".
Specifically, the coalition recognises and want to encourage the US government, which has “an important role to play in facilitating and fostering an open, diverse and secure supply chain for advanced wireless technologies, including 5G,” such as by funding research and development, testing open and interoperable networks and solutions, and incentivising supply chain diversity.
This is against a backdrop of the US Administration is trying to force Huawei back to trading within its own borders, while operators are fighting against the big three vendors – Huawei, Ericsson and Nokia – which have long dominated the RAN, selling closed, highly integrated systems.
Nokia was the first major vendor to join the O-RAN Alliance and it is co-chairing the workgroups that are defining the Open Fronthaul Interface and the Near Real-time RAN Intelligent Controller (RIC), which will help automate and optimize the network. In addition to the O-RAN Alliance, Nokia has championed open standards in 3GPP, the Linux Foundation’s ONAP initiative, ETSI’s Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) initiative, and more.
Brian Hendricks, Vice President of Government Relations Americas, Nokia said, “Nokia believes that policymakers, operators and equipment providers should work together to support research and development of emerging network technologies that include open systems, advanced 5G technologies and foundational 6G research, with policies that support a robust ecosystem of trusted suppliers that will create a strong U.S. position in secure wireless technology.
“We believe this coalition strongly supports this approach and we are pleased to join and the industry move forward on this important effort.”